How To Identify Your Direct And Indirect Competitors

In sales, it’s important to keep tabs on your competitors. You should not only know who they are, but what they’re selling and how they’re doing it. The more you know about your competitors, the better you can communicate your offering with your target audience.

The first thing you should know about your competitors is whether they are direct or indirect competitors. Direct competitors are businesses that offer the same services as you. Indirect competitors are companies that don’t offer the same services but meet clients’ needs in a different way.

Knowing your direct and indirect competition can help you improve your campaigns and even reach new markets, says writer Paige Bennett. Some competitors are easy to identify, but others require more research. How can you pinpoint the businesses that you’re competing with? Bennett says there are five ways to identify them. We discuss her thoughts in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Ask for customer feedback. You can learn from your current clients and prospective buyers. With your current clients, send them a survey and ask what other companies they considered and why they chose your business. And for prospects, ask them what other businesses they are talking to.

Do some market research. Customer surveys fall into this category, says Bennett. You can also create a list of similar companies. Look at their website and social media channels to get a better idea of their business, she suggests.

Check social media. You can also spot your direct and indirect competitors on social media sites and forums like Reddit. Bennett says you can check out the recommendations people share for products and services that you also offer. The companies that keep surfacing with positive reviews may be some of your top competitors.

Turn to keyword research. This is a helpful strategy for finding your indirect competitors. Bennett says you can use the keywords you are targeting to identify other businesses that are targeting the same keywords, and ultimately, the same top spot on the search engine results page (SERP) and the same audience.

Review the SERP. If you don’t normally look at SERP results, you may be missing out on an opportunity to identify your competitors. Bennett recommends searching your keywords to find what businesses are ranking highly for these keywords.

Competition can be healthy. But first, you need to know what you’re up against. The more you know about your competitors—both direct and indirect—the more you can position your business and offerings as unique.

Take some time to conduct some market research, including surveying your clients and prospects. Find out what other businesses they are considering. You can also do some investigating on your own, from reading reviews to digging into keyword research. When you identify and understand your direct and indirect competitors, you can improve your strategies, differentiate yourself and potentially close more deals.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Paige Bennett is a Los Angeles-based editor and freelance writer.

filed under September 2021
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